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Pale Ale - Belgian
Ranked #25
Ranked #17,991
3.89 | pDev: 11.31%
Quebec, Canada
Very Good
Notes: Unibroue introduced Raftman to the Quebec market in March 1995. This coral-hued beer has a unique taste that combines the smooth character of smoked malt whisky with the flavours of fine yeast.

IBU: 15.5
Reviews: 423 | Ratings: 795 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of YesKing
YesKing from Canada (AB)

3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Really liking the colour here, deep golden colour, almost amber. Quite a bit of foam as well. Smell is is sweet and fruity, fairly light. Interesting taste, the bitterness hits the mouth first, but this quickly tapers off into a fruity after-taste. Getting flavours of banana, bubblegum, nutmeg, and a vague spiciness. This is completed by the beer's very thick and frothy mouth-feel.

All in all, this is a successful beer with some interesting flavours. Very satisfying overall!

May 06, 2020
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Borbly from Canada ()

3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy copper color with a white head with some length. Bready and floral on the nose, exhibiting a slight metallic character as well. Light, yet full of flavour, with crisp hoppiness and floral tones coming over. Very smooth and effervescent. Very nice beer overall.

Nov 29, 2019
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altstadt from Canada (BC)

4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Look: Hazy orange-brown. Pours a head that quickly decayed to a froth of medium sized bubbles. A small amount of lacing up the glass as the head dropped in volume. Medium bubbles covered the side of the glass until they broke free. Continual stream of small and medium bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Eventually the head settled down to a thick skiff (less than a finger) across the surface.

Smell: Carmelized fruit scents, more towards figs, and some spicy gingerbread. Very mild yeast. Swirling the glass boosted the scents but didn't add anything new.

Taste: The flavor is pretty much the same as the smell: carmelized fruit and some spicy gingerbread. This has a light touch with the flavor profile and doesn't have anything that overwhelms. Malts clearly show up about half way through to add more to the gingerbread. The aftertaste shifts to mostly gingerbread and tosses in a bit of bitters as the flavors slowly fade from the tongue.

Feel: Medium-heavy body that quickly foams past a creamy feel.

Overall: Very light flavored Belgian style beer. Nice flavors that do not overwhelm. Could drink this every day.

Jun 26, 2019
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Alexc11 from Canada (QC)

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Cloudy, amber colour with light fizzle and thick head that dissipates quick enough. Good lacing. Fruity and yeast aromas (mostly peach, orange I detect). Taste is also dominated by fruit but with light kick of spice and coriander. This keeps in tradition with Quebec's affinity for belgian abbey ales. Another winner from my home province.

Apr 28, 2019
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BucBasil from Rwanda

3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the 750mL bottle into a tulip glass. The beer is a cloudy rust color with an off-white foamy head that stays around a long time. Lots of carbonation visible within.

S: Surprised to see the Belgian yeast still playing such a big role in the aroma here. It is still heavily fruity, with a slight woody note that may or may not be the "smoked" character in the aroma. Red apples, bread. Some spice. A little bit of pie, perhaps? Pleasant.

T: Unexpected flavor. This is kind of like a tripel but weaker. Has fruity yeast all throughout - apples, spice, hints of bubblegum and banana bread. I would say this is more like a dunkelweiss. There is a slight woody character inside. Not getting much smoked flavor, but it could just be a subtle addition. Instead, I get a good amount of caramel malt, and some of those weirs-like characteristics.

F: Carbonated but still very creamy.

Overall: This is not a rauchbier for sure - more like a solid Belgian style ale that has a couple of unique features. It is very drinkable and goes well in a lot of situations.

Dec 21, 2018
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Aidan11 from Canada (ON)

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A good drinkable ale. it smells like caramel. Its a nice golden amber without much head. The taste is only a little bitter, but the flavor is mostly spicy. It's texture is thick, and creamy.

Nov 15, 2017
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FBarber from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown tinged orange color. Completely clear (when you don't pour the yeast from the bottom of the bottle in).
Thin off-white head dissipates steadily leaving no lacing and no residual head.

Smell has notes of spice, brown sugar, caramel malts and a sweet whiskey aroma.

Taste follows the nose with that caramel malts, spices, brown sugar, and bourbon notes. This bottle is admittedly pretty old and heavily oxidized. Flavors are nice, but muted and somewhat overtaken by the oxidation. Need to find this fresh and taste it - the whiskey like flavors with the spices make for a really unique but very nice beer.

Feel is very light and goes down smoothly. Moderate carbonation.

Overall a unique beer - definitely need to revisit this with a fresher (not oxidized) bottle.

Nov 10, 2017
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GingerFan from Canada (QC)

3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours with a thick white head. A medium brown in color, opaque. Malty smell. Strong taste of spices that you would expect from a Unibroue beer. Overall good!

Oct 13, 2017
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BGDrock from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Unfiltered amber body along with a dense, egg white head that doesn't go anywhere fast.
Aroma is yeasty, spice and coriander, some farmhouse funk. After a taste, this is reminding me of an orchard.
Sweet caramel malt is front and centre here, full and creamy, with some balancing, crisp fruitiness in the finish which is more dry than expected - of apples and pears. Medium carbonation and body, spot on. It's a smoked ale, but if it is, it's subtle, and I get more a sense of very slight musty-ness if anything.
Really enjoying this as an easy drinking beer, it'd be a great choice at the pub (would pair with just about any pub grub), and for those moments when you come home from work and just feel like a simple beer - nothing special but quality and flavourful all the same.

Sep 30, 2017
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

341 ml bottle served fairly cold into a tulip. Purchased as part of the Summer 2017 mixed pack from Unibroue.

Appearance - A cloudy amber and honey brown colored beer. Topped with a finger and a half of off-white head. Very good retention and a small amount of spidery lacing sits around the edges of the glass.

Smell - Faint smokiness, but plenty of signature yeast aroma. Some fruits (along the lines of cherry and other dark fruits) with a general maltiness. Subtle bits of brown sugar.

Taste - Clean, somewhat grainy, faint bits of smoke and charcoal mixed in but very subtle. Some sweetness towards the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, relatively fizzy, drying finish.

Overall - Certainly a good beer and an interesting concept, but somehow the sum of the beer is less than the component parts. Good beer but a little bit underwhelming / different than what i was expecting.

Sep 30, 2017
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pretty clear beer that looks like apple juice. Off white head is two fingers and hangs for a while before receding and leave a few specks behind on the glass. The aroma is full of banana, clove and sweetness that smacks of apples. There is the faintest hint of smoke. The taste is sweet with a lot of bubbles on the tongue. There are apples, brown sugar, banana, clove and a faint smoke in the taste. This is a really great and unique beer.

Aug 17, 2017
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TheHammer from Canada (ON)

4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with a finger of head that produced decent lace and retained quite well. The body is an orange weighted amber with ample carbonation in the body.

Smell: Warming certainly helps this one come out of it's shell as it starts with a relatively mild toffee malt with notes of orange citrus but as it warms up other fruits like apple, pear and herbs. I think I'm also catching a slight smoked note, but it's very mild.

Taste: Starts out fruity as apple and orange notes compliment some basic bread malt, as it goes down the existing fruit joins with grape, blueberry and a mild smoky element that finishes off the beer with earth, wood and and almost barbecued meat touch that works a delicate balancing act fairly well.

Mouthfeel: The transitioning on this one is exceptional and the carbonation helps out the entire beer but is just a little bit overdone, the aftertaste is a bit of a letdown though, mainly being just a mild touch of citrus, malt and earth that doesn't build on itself, but it's certainly not what I would call a flaw.

Drinkability: Once again the high carbonation rears its head on this one, leaving it a bit of a gassy experience. Also, this beer also comes across as punching above it's weight as this tastes like a 6.5 to 8% offering. That said, it's refreshing, the high yeast doesn't leave is dry and it's well done.

Final Thoughts: While this beer is great, I can't help but think it answers a question that I didn't really want an answer for. That being, what if someone brewed a light Belgian style abbey ale. I'm not certain that was the intent, but it certainly fits the bill better then treating this as a pale ale, as the hopping is mercifully light. I certainly wouldn't turn it down, and it's getting two thumbs up here.

Aug 10, 2017
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Lewnanny from Canada (NB)

3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Came from a new box of tasting pack with 8 different beers. This beer is OK but not the best from this pack.

I will try to get is back, but cannot find it near my town.

Unibroue is one of my favorite, brewery in Canada. I you ever had the Blanche de Chambly, this one is a must.

May 15, 2017
Photo of Lucaskowalik
Lucaskowalik from Canada (AB)

4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 341mL bottle into a tulip.
L- Cloudy sunrise orange liquid with a hazelnut tinge, good carbonation, and a glorious white head.
S- Spicy, citrus, and smoky bacon. Also has a decent alcohol smell even though it doesn't have a high abv.
T- Lemon, maple, grass, oats, bread, spice, pears, smoky bbq, woody.
F- Light and bubbly with a faint, spicy hoppiness.
O- Pretty good introduction to a style of beer I didn't know existed.

Jan 29, 2017
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It takes years of practice to understand the Belgians and Unibroue does this well and adds its own to this flavorful, smoky, malty ale. For me, I'd appreciate less carbonation... but I'm getting used to it in this style.

This beer is listed in one of my three books comprising my classical beer education.
Michael Jackson's 1999 edition gave this 2.5 of 4 stars and called it "woody, smoky."

Feb 19, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours initially with towering fluffy head. Dark golden, slightly cloudy, lots of fine, lively carbonation. Aroma of wood smoke and cooked grains, taste is more smoked malt, lightly toasted, light bacon. Some caramel and toffee. Very nicely done.

Dec 28, 2015
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papposilenus from New Hampshire

3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a corked-and-caged 750ml, undated bottle - or, at least, if there's a date code, I can't understand it.
L: Pours a deep, hazy burnt-orange with a vast mound of puffy, dingy-white foam that looks and smells like over-risen bread dough.
S: Belgian yeast, green apples and lemongrass.
T: Sweet, bready malt, spicy, musty, smoky earth, unripe fruit, grass and green tea. A very mild squeezed lemon tang lingers briefly
F: Assertively carbonated and astringent, malty, sticky tongue-coating.
O: Well, first off, if I was supposed to taste any whiskey malt, I totally failed. Unless that was the musty, smoky thing. But it drank like a beer twice it's weight, smooth and satisfying. There will be no leftovers.

Dec 02, 2015
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vickersspitfire from Texas

3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: The body is a bright golden color with mild copper hues towards the center, its very mildly hazy, in fact its barely noticeable unless you stare and focus for a bit. The head is thick rock and very white and lasts for several minutes without showing signs of thinning out. There’s an extremely dense head that just marks every sip.
Smell: Floral notes, fig, apple and mild lemony aromas do come through.
Taste: Floral and rather musky at first, it then opens up with mild bitter bite towards the corners of your mouth, then the apple and raisin flavors come out. Sweet overall with just a slight taste of alcohol. Lemon zest come out as it warms. The aftertaste is smooth and only slightly bitter and leave you wanting another sip. Spices start to come out after about five minutes.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, rather dull but it envelopes your mouth with that nice alcohol warming feeling and it medium to full bodied.
Overall: This is another great example of a Belgian Ale from Unibroue; Raftman is easy to drink, tastes great.

Nov 29, 2015
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RickS95 from Indiana

3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It's very dark for any type of pale ale, even one based on the Belgian style. It's a brown beer that resembles dirty river water. Opaque due to the sheer brown color, it's still fairly clear. The head is very bright white and just over a finger thick. Only moderate retention, after sitting for a couple minutes only a thin creamy look sits up top.

This thing smells brilliant. Not a hint of citrus like Americans, this is all malt and spices. He whiskey malt lays a foundation of earthy sweetness. Not sure of the hop varietals, but it seems to be old school hops.

I like the taste but I don't know exactly how to describe it. That earthiness is present but the spicing is very subdued compared to the nose. No hop presence so all you taste is malt.

It's surprisingly light bodied, with an almost watery feel. The complete opposite of dry or crisp, my mouth feels like it's dripping in between sips. The bottle mentions a lasting aftertaste and there is a little spicy feel to remind you of what you just had.

I wish this had more alcohol and a more aggressive taste profile. It's a good beer but I'm not sure it's any sort of pale ale.

Sep 21, 2015
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michiganmatt from California

3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance 4/5 - Darker orange brown. Two fingers of light tan head. A lot of carbonation visible rising up the beer.

Smell 3.5/5 - Apples, malts, perhaps hints of roasty/smokiness and spice

Taste 3.75/5 - Belgian yeasty / breadiness. Faint hints of smoke and booze and spices. Overall an okay taste. Nothing special.

Mouthfeel 3.75/5 - Moderate level of carbonation. Moderate level of crispness.

Overall 3.75/5 - Not bad, but nothing special.

Aug 21, 2015
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Radome from Florida

4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from a 750 ml bottle in a snifter.

L - Medium brown color lightened by golden highlights. Very slight haze. Off-white head initially thick and creamy, but soon disappears. Very light lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma of faint smoke, and earthy hops. Some low bready malt. Finish has spicy, phenolic yeast notes. There is a medicinal quality that may be from the yeast or the whisky malt.

T - Flavors start off like a Belgian pale ale, with bready malt and low grassy hops. Later in the palate things get more interesting, with a sharp, medicinal and phenolic kick. Smoke in the aftertaste.

F - Medium to full body. Strong, sharp carbonation. Medium hops bitterness. Off-dry finish.

O - This is a unique beer with complex flavors and aromas.

Jul 19, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Weird I have to go to Kansas City to find a beer from Quebec. I've never heard of of seen this before, so pretty cool. On tap at Anton's, a place known for epic steaks. Very dark for a Belgian pale, deer ruby to brick red, not pale at all. Not much head either on it, and some haze. Smells like a Belgian, and tastes like one too. Their classic yeast strain tempered only by the heft of the sweet red malt. Not much hops to speak of, and a disappointing under carbonated mouthfeel. I really like the flavor of the beer very much, but the rest if it seems so much less well put together than the rest if their stuff, maybe the line was dirty or the keg was old or something, I see the potential, but on the whole the beer did not live up to my expectations. A fine companion to a dry aged burger though, cooked medium rare with blue cheese and caramelized onions, in that context it's much better than it is in isolation...

Jun 20, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours energetic hazy tea under a 2” cream colored foam cap that quickly descends to a thick film while gripping the side of the glass.
S: Toasty malt with a hint of smoke, spice, over ripe fruit, a hint of rye, spice.
T: Faint cola, grain, fruit, dark dried fruit, mellow malt.
F: Very creamy soft, overall sweet but finishes dry with a touch of spice astringency, above average carbonation, medium light body.
O: Rich easy to drink Belgian Pale Ale packed with flavor delivered in an incredible texture.

Jun 08, 2015
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twiggamortis420 from Texas

4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle pours a hazed copper color with a modest cap of tan head that fades surprisingly fast without leaving much lace.

Nose is estery Unibroue yeast with a smoky, earthy malt aspect. Smoked bananas on some peanut butter slathered toast. Mmmmm.

Taste shows much of the same with a bubble-gum yeast and light smoked flavor. A little reminiscent of some Bamburg hefeweissbier, but a little lighter in smokiness. Just a fantastic drinker though that so going to disappear from my glass all too fast. I cant believe it took me this long to try this beer, but as with almost all Unibroue beers, I find myself wondering why I dont buy them more often.

Jun 07, 2015
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mick303 from Canada (ON)

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very flavourful beer, made with smoked whisky malt. It is a cloudy medium brown colour with attractive head and lace retention.
S - smoky malt, chewy, leather and baked apples with some brown sugar sweetness.
T - solid flavour body with a gentle smoke and maple syrup wafting in, robust malt really carries the flavour, crisp orchard fruit, and a pleasant yeast flavour.
M- full, bready and malty with an assertive carbonation to carry it.
Overall this is a very nice malt forward beer that highlights the nice smoked elements.

May 16, 2015
Raftman from Unibroue
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 795 ratings